Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Smiling Spock and the Davening Flowers

The other night I watched the "The Cage," the original pilot episode of Star Trek. 

It was surreal. It had the standard plot of many Star Trek episodes. The Enterprise receives a distress call. The crew beams down to a strange planet. Then they encounter hostile aliens. The show wraps up with some sort of moral about the human condition. But the only familiar character was Spock, played by the one and only Leonard Nimoy. The first officer was a woman, played by Majel Barret ("The First Lady" of Star Trek) And the ship's doctor wasn't Bones. Even Captain Christopher Pike (not Kirk) lamented to the doctor that he was tired of being a captain!  Aside from Spock, no other character from this pilot made it into the regular series, as far as I can tell. And even Spock acted funny, smiling or even getting scared. 

The pacing of the show moved at a snail's pace. When they finally got down to the planet they took their time exploring. (Notice there's no red shirts!) I was gonna about to fall asleep when they came upon these flowers(?) as seen above. The flowers got their attention by wobbling/davening back and forth. Spock looked at  Pike and then gave that goofy grin.

Soon after Captain Pike got taken by the aliens. I won't spoil the rest of it for you, though there isn't much to spoil really. The network actually shot down this pilot episode back in the mid-1960s. Yeah, the plot was that slow. And apparently, the episode didn't air until 1988. You can watch it on Netflix.
And now, to make this post gaming related for Swords & Wizardry and other old school games...

Davening Flowers (hazard)
Patches of these wiry stemmed blue flowers grow both above and below ground, often near monster lairs.  When any living creature approaches within 30 feet, these flowers start to sway and rock slightly, while emitting a low hum, attracting the attention of the the creature for 1d6 rounds. During this time, while the creature (or creatures) is looking at the pretty flowers, it can be surprised on a 5 in 6, on a 1d6, rather than the usual 2 in 6 chance. 

Nearby monsters, who have become immune to the davening effect, like to use these flowers to attract victims near their lair. 


  1. I used these in an old game, playing a cassette tape (yes, that old) of the buzzing/humming noise they made. My players recognized the Trek origins, went over to the flowers, and held the petals making them stop their noise.

    Unfortunately, the "flowers" were actually part of a vicious peacock-like creature huddled in the foliage that leapt out and attacked them for disturbing it.

    I suppose it's my fault my players never took the time to stop and smell the flowers anymore after that incident.

    1. Awesome!

      But that's the problem, once the players get "tricked" by any kind of flower they generally stay away from them.


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